Thursday, August 29, 2002

Bayless wins controversial late model race

Bayless wins controversial late model race

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Something must have been in the air on the Sunday night of August 24. In Bristol, Tennessee in the NASCAR Winston Cup race, there were several controversies involving several drivers. Hundreds of miles away in Eureka, California, there was no exception. While the prize money was less, the track was shorter and the incident was between two drivers, the controversy couldn’t have gotten any more incensed than it did in the late model main event between Oregonians Larry Bayless and David Miller. Using the “bump and run,” Bayless took the victory away from Miller on the last lap of the race.

In mini stock action, Jason Chand took the trophy home in the dash over rival Phil Wood. When the heat race action ended, Chand again beat Wood to the line to take the victory. These races were only a small dose of what was seen in the great main event race. Brian Murrell took the early lead in the race but unfortunately for him, it wasn’t long as Chand took the lead away within a few laps. Wood followed suite two laps later.

While racing for position, Chad Grammer and Joe Papa made contact but there was no resulting caution. This was great news for Chand who pulled out to a good lead over Wood. The lead would last for very few laps though as Wood reeled in Chand. Wood made an outside passing attempt on Chand but got loose and lost track position.

Behind the two, Murrell spun off of turn four on lap 12 but again, no caution was thrown. On lap 14, Wood got to the outside of Chand and challenged him for the lead. As the duo came to lap Ralph Miller, Miller moved up high to let the leaders go by on the inside. It wasn’t high enough however, as Miller and Wood made contact resulting in Miller spinning and a caution flag thrown on lap 19.

The great race between Chand and Wood would not continue after the restart because as the field took the green, Chand’s car lost power and pulled into the infield. Wood took the lead and never looked back taking the victory over Dan Brown, Jason Rhodes, Matt Wolfe and Grammer.

Long time Acres veteran, Angelo Marcelli took home trophy dash honors over David Henderson, Roger Sanderson and title rival, Pat Walsh. Marcelli’s luck would sour on him though as in the heat race, rookie Joe McDonald spun coming off of turn four. Marcelli, with no where to go, ran into McDonald. Both cars were essentially done for the evening as both only made a few laps in the main event for points. Sanderson took the heat win over Jim Norris, Walsh and Henderson.

Sanderson took advantage of the cars being grouped up for the main event as he took the early lead in the race; a lead he would not relinquish. Henderson moved in behind him and tried to apply pressure to Sanderson’s rear bumper. He could never get a good run on Sanderson and when the race concluded Sanderson took the win over Henderson, Walsh and Norris.

The real stock division once again showed their strength with 27 cars clocking in for qualifications. In the fast trophy dash, points leader Rick Fox took the victory over Mike Peters, Donnie Hyman and Travis Maytanes. In the slow dash, frequent victory lane visitor, Gary Adams won over Tony Rodriguez, James Henry and Craig Huffman. Adams won again in the first of the three heat races over Huffman, Bill Middleton and Troy Wood. In the second heat, Donald Brown held off a furious charge by Lissa Uselton, followed by Ryan Thomson and Steve Kimberling. Fox took the dash-heat sweep with the heat win over Hyman, Aaron Byers and Peters.

Adams made it three for three by taking the victory in the ‘B’ main event over Chad Trump. Both drivers transferred into the ‘A’ main event. Chad Gurney and Kimberling brought the field to the green flag. Gurney used the pole position to his advantage and stretched out to the early lead. Within a few laps, the caution was thrown when Jimmy Thornbury and Maytanes hooked bumpers and spun into the infield. On the restart, Mike Peeples took advantage of cool tires and a tightened field. On lap 8 he passed Brown and on lap 9 he passed Gurney for the lead. That lap, Thomson spun while on the same lap Brown spun resulting in another caution flag.

On the restart, Byers tried to do what Peeples had done the restart before making a move on Gurney on the outside. On lap 12, Marty Walsh spun off of turn four undamaged. Unfortunately, he would not go without damage as Brown, with nowhere to go, collided into the driver’s side of Walsh resulting in a red flag. Both drivers were all right but the same couldn’t be said for their cars. When the green flag came out Peters began to show his hand. On lap 14 he was up to second and within two laps he was challenging Peeples for the lead. On lap 16, Doug Way spun off of turn four but no caution flag was thrown. That very lap Peters took the lead away from Peeples. A few laps later, the two quick cars of Fox and Hyman moved into second and third. Peters’ lead was insurmountable as he took the main event win over Fox, Hyman, Byers and Gurney.

The all ways quick late model cars provided a great racing action. Larry Bayless took the trophy dash win over Rick Spencer. In the heat, David Miller won over local favorites Larry Pries and Jimmy Walker. The main event was bumper to bumper between most of the field. Miller led over Bayless, Pries and Preston O’Dell. About halfway through the race, O’Dell’s rear end locked up going into the third turn. His car turned backwards and spun in front of several cars including Pries, Walker and Spencer. Pries and Spencer spun and lost a lap while Walker barely made it through the mêlée.

Miller got a jump on the restart and pulled out to a good lead over Bayless and Walker. Both drivers caught up to Miller within five laps however. Bayless had the stronger car as he made several moves on Miller trying to get him to make a mistake. On the last lap going into turn three, Bayless gave Miller a bump moving him to the outside lane. Bayless went past Miller along with Walker and took home the victory. Miller was furious at Bayless and repaid the favor on the cool down lap on the backstretch. The win stood with the officials however with Bayless winning over Walker, Miller and Spencer.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Spencer holds off Walker to win

Spencer holds off Walker to win

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The late model cars made their fourth visit to the 3/8-mile paved oval in Eureka, California and they didn’t disappoint. Though there was a low turnout of cars there was not at a low level in the action as Rick Spencer held off local favorite, Jimmy Walker to take the win in the main event. In the local action, young Gary Adams took the victory in the popular real stock division. Veteran driver, Pat Walsh, made a bold pass and won the main event in the sportsman division while Phil Wood once again showed his strength in the mini stock division taking home the top honors.

Jaison Chand took the mini stock trophy dash victory over Dan Brown. In the first of the two heat races in the division, Matt Wolfe took the win over Tai Frye who was making his first appearance of the season and Brian Murrell. Phil Wood won the second heat over his season long challengers Jason Rhodes and Chand. In the main event, Wood showed his strength early as he took the lead in the first few laps of the race; a lead he would not relinquish. On lap 3, Rhodes made his way to second and tried to chase down Wood along with Brown and Chand. Wood, was just too strong and he took the victory over Rhodes, Brown and Chand.

Rick Fox broke the real stock track record for the second race in a row with a new fast pace of 19.531. In the trophy dash, Mike Peters won over Dan Maxwell, Shawn Craig and Fox. Craig Huffman won the first of the three heat races for the real stock class over Carl Bowling and Brett Alverson who was driving in Bill Middleton’s car. There was a alarming event in the second heat race when Jimmy Thornbury and Lissa Uselton made contact coming off of turn four. Uselton’s car looked as if it were going to hit the wall severely but fortunately she suffered only minor damage to her right front quarter panel. Thornbury also escaped major damage to his car. James Henry took the win over Travis Maytanes and Ryan Thompson. In the third heat, Rick Fox had radiator troubles. Dan Maxwell won over Fox’s title rival Craig and Donnie Hyman.

Four spots were open for the drivers in the ‘B’ main event to move on to the ‘A’ main. Filling those four places were winner, Huffman, Ryan Walters, Chad Trump and Cecil Arispe. The main event was tempestuous to say the least. Chad Gurney and Uselton led the field to the green flag. A full first lap would not be completed however as a major accident in turn three involving several cars ensued. Among the most heavily damaged were Fite, Fox, Craig, Peters, Curt Vance and Hyman. Under the caution flag, Maxwell and Doug Way had an exchange in which Maxwell spun out Way. Both were black flagged and parked for the evening.

After the restart and a few laps of racing, Uselton spun while trying to pass another car bringing out a caution flag. Fortunately for her, she did not loose a lap and was able to continue on. Once the green fell again, Gary Adams began to show his muscle. On lap 8 Adams took the lead from Aaron Byers. On lap 12, Byers and Dana Porter spun while fighting for second position. That same lap, Maytanes pulled his car into the infield. Under the caution Byers was not pleased with his placement in the lineup for the restart. He showed his discontent and he was black-flagged and parked for the rest of the night.

After another restart, Gurney spun and almost collected Craig who had returned to the track to run for valuable points. The green fell again and Adams pulled away from the rest of the pack. Another incident developed for second between Henry and Mike Peeples. Both spun but the caution flag was not brought out. Adams ran clean the whole night and ended up with the winner’s trophy. Finishing second making a great charge from his win in the ‘B’ main was Huffman, followed by Arispe, Uselton and Fite.

It seemed to be a night for the veterans in the sportsman division as a veteran driver took each victory in the class. Angelo Marcelli won the trophy dash over David Henderson and Pat Walsh. Ed Peters, who had been out of competition for several years, took the heat race win over Walsh and Marcelli. The main event had the most exciting episode in the first corner of the first lap. Peters and Henderson brought the field to the green flag. Going into that first corner, Walsh made a daring move to the inside of Peters and Henderson to make it three wide. Fortunately for everyone, Walsh made it through unscathed in what turned out to be the winning move. On lap two, Peters got loose and spun off of turn two but there wasn‘t a caution flag thrown. Walsh stretched out his lead while Marcelli, Henderson and Scotty Turner tried to chase him down. Henderson had problems on lap 20 and was forced to retire. Walsh held his lead and took the win over Marcelli, Turner and Peters.

In a fight between two Ferndale, California drivers, Larry Pries took the heat race win over Jimmy Walker, Rick Spencer and Shawn Hayes. Pries made the heat race action even more exciting as he took the lead and the victory away from Ed Peters on the last lap over the race. Second was Spencer followed by Hayes and Walker.

Peters and Preston O’Dell brought the field to the green flag in the main event. It was short lived for Peters though who broke on the first lap and was done for the night. On the restart, O’Dell took the early lead. While racing with Pries, Hayes made contact with him and spun Pries out. The caution was thrown and Hayes was sent to the rear of the field. On the restart, O’Dell led over Spencer and Walker. On lap 12, Chuck LaHorgue had problems and went into the pits. Three laps later, Pries spun between turns three and four. Coming to the caution flag, Spencer made a bold pass on O’Dell and took the lead. After a few laps of green racing, O’Dell spun forcing another caution flag.

After the restart, Hayes got loose and spun off of turn four, billowing smoke from his tires trying in vain to save his car. Eureka driver, Jason Winfrey drove into the smoke but didn’t make it through as his front end slammed in to the right front wheel of Hayes car. Both Hayes and Winfrey were done for the night. Walker tried his best to make a move on Spencer. Both had a lot of horsepower down the straight-aways but it was Spencer’s better handling car that helped him hold off Walker for the lead and the eventual victory. Second was Walker followed by O’Dell and Pries.

The next race at the Acres is the regular show of mini stocks, real stocks and sportsman cars on August 17. The late models return two weeks later on August 24.